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Published October 27, 2017 | Submitted + Supplemental Material + Published
Journal Article Open

Gravitational Waves from Binary Black Hole Mergers Inside of Stars


We present results from a controlled numerical experiment investigating the effect of stellar density gas on the coalescence of binary black holes (BBHs) and the resulting gravitational waves (GWs). This investigation is motivated by the proposed stellar core fragmentation scenario for BBH formation and the associated possibility of an electromagnetic counterpart to a BBH GW event. We employ full numerical relativity coupled with general-relativistic hydrodynamics and set up a 30+30  M⊙ BBH (motivated by GW150914) inside gas with realistic stellar densities. Our results show that at densities ρ≳10^6–10^7  g cm^(−3) dynamical friction between the BHs and gas changes the coalescence dynamics and the GW signal in an unmistakable way. We show that for GW150914, LIGO observations appear to rule out BBH coalescence inside stellar gas of ρ≳10^7  g cm^(−3). Typical densities in the collapsing cores of massive stars are in excess of this density. This excludes the fragmentation scenario for the formation of GW150914.

Additional Information

© 2017 American Physical Society. Received 25 April 2017; revised manuscript received 24 August 2017; published 24 October 2017. We thank M. Sasaki, G. Domènech, K. Kiuchi, M. Shibata, K. Ioka, T. Tanaka, E. Schnetter, E. Firing, T. Bogdanovic, and N. Deruelle for discussions. This research is partially supported by MEXT, IRU-AFS, NSF Grants No. ACI-1550514, No. CAREER PHY-1151197, and No. PHY-1404569; and ERC-2014-CoG 646597, MSCA-RISE-2015 690904, and STFC ST/L000636/1. We used the matplotlib Python package [48] for the figures. The simulations were performed on the cluster Wheeler, supported by the Sherman Fairchild Foundation and Caltech, and on supercomputers of the NSF XSEDE network under allocation TG-PHY100033 and TG-PHY090003.

Attached Files

Published - PhysRevLett.119.171103.pdf

Submitted - 1704.07383.pdf

Supplemental Material - supplement.pdf


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August 19, 2023
October 26, 2023